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James B. Stoltman

Emeritus Professor of Anthropology

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Direct Phone: (608) ***-****       

Email: s***@***.edu

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University of Wisconsin-Madison

600 Highland Ave. Room F6/133

Madison, Wisconsin 53792

United States

Company Description

The University of Wisconsin Press ( was founded in 1936. The Press publishes books and journals. Since its first book appeared in 1937, the Press has published and distributed more than 3,000 titles. The Press has more than 1,400 titl ... more

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Background Information

Employment History





Professor of Archaeology


Wisconsin-Madison Archeologist


Professor Emeritus of North American Archaeology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Web References (25 Total References)

Milwaukee Magazine [cached]

James Stoltman, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is an expert in North American archaeology.He supports the theory of a pre-Clovis North American occupation."My own feeling is a pre-Clovis entity is going to turn up here," he says."The Wisconsin ones are among the most convincing."

Yet Stoltman is a cautious scientist and balks at the notion that the main migration occurred before the Bering Strait crossing.Rather, he expresses the fallback position of Clovis First supporters - from "Only Clovis First" to "Mostly Clovis First."In other words, there may have been a scattering of people here and there, but the main migration was through the Bering Strait corridor 11,500 years ago.Says Stoltman: "Clovis was first in a large area of North America, filling up an empty area, with no resistance [from other people] and rapid spread."

Clone Embryo Farms! Nuclear Fusion, Stonehenge, China Discovered America? Dodo's Claw, Jupiter & More! [cached]

"It is a highly improbable theory," said James Stoltman, a professor emeritus of North American archaeology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

archaeology :: New Analysis Of Pottery Stirs Olmec Trade Controversy :: May :: 2007 [cached]

Writing this week (Aug. 1, 2005) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team of scientists led by UW-Madison archeologist James B. Stoltman presents new evidence that shows the Olmec, widely regarded as the creators of the first civilization in Mesoamerica, imported pottery from other nearby cultures. The finding undermines the view that the Olmec capitol of San Lorenzo near the Gulf of Mexico was the sole source of the iconographic pottery produced by the earliest Mesoamerican civilizations.

"At issue here is trade pottery," says Stoltman, an emeritus professor of anthropology and an archeologist more familiar with the ancient native cultures of the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
Now, however, an old technique brought to bear by Stoltman on an array of pottery fragments from five formative Mexican archeological sites shows that the "exchanges of vessels between highland and lowland chiefly centers were reciprocal, or two way."
The new results were obtained through the use of petrography, a long-established geological technique capable of accurately identifying minerals in a sample. "With this technique, you can identify minerals and rocks, not the elements as you get with neutron activation," says Stoltman, an authority on petrography. "It is a technique that is very accurate for identifying minerals."
The results of the new study show that minerals added to temper pottery came from multiple sites, including the highlands of Oaxaca.
"Pots are a human product," Stoltman explains, adding that temper - crushed rock, often - was added to confer plasticity and help pots survive shrinking and drying without cracking.
The geology of the San Lorenzo site is underlain by sedimentary rock, limestone and sandstone, Stoltman explains. Oaxaca and other areas rest on metamorphic rocks. The signature of the geology where the pots were produced, he says, is effectively added with the sand used for tempering.
"These analyses contradict recent claims that the Gulf Coast was the sole source of pottery carved with iconographic motifs," Stoltman says.
Among the samples tested by Stoltman, who was blind to the locations from which the pottery fragments were recovered, were pieces that had been found at San Lorenzo and visually - but not conclusively - identified as Oaxacan in origin.
"Five of these samples are unambiguously from Oaxaca, demonstrating " Stoltman says, "that some of pottery from San Lorenzo was made elsewhere."
The new findings, Stoltman believes, add some clarity to the interrelationships of cultures in ancient Mesoamerica. But the "mother culture/sister culture" debate is unlikely to ebb.
"It's difficult to give primacy to one culture," he says. "In many ways, their (the Olmec) culture was unique," but it may have only been one part of the cultural equation of the day.
In addition to Stoltman, the corresponding author of the study, co-authors of the PNAS paper include Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery of the University of Michigan, James H. Burton of UW-Madison, and Robert G. Moyle of the American Museum of Natural History.

Gazette Close-Up, Hidden Places, GazetteExtra, Janesville, Wisconsin, USA [cached]

"I have no qualms in saying these claims are utter nonsense," said James Stoltman, archaeologist at UW-Madison."...

"It's irresponsible scholarship is what it is, or it's really not scholarship," Stoltman said of Joseph's work, because it reaches conclusions without considering alternatives.

- Discovery in Wisconsin stirs scientific debate: Did two different cultures meet and create a third? | Native American Indian Tribes - Over 700 articles [cached]

The issue, according to James Stoltman, a retired professor of archaeology at UW-Madison, is what role the Middle Mississippians had on the transfer of Late Woodland to Oneota culture.

"I think this new evidence from Onalaska, as well as from other sites around the state, indicate that there was a marriage of culture between the Late Woodland and Middle Mississippian," which gave birth to the Oneota, Stoltman said.
He points to Boszhardt's discovery of both Late Woodland and Middle Mississippian pottery types at the same hearth; suggesting that a meal was shared between the two groups.
"We don't see Oneota anywhere before 1000 A.D.," he said."So, arguments for Oneota coming into the state and pushing the Late Woodlanders out are baseless.They didn't exist, so they couldn't have done that."
Stoltman, Boszhardt and Birmingham also point to archaeological objects, such as pottery, to further their argument of a cultural blending between Late Woodland and Middle Mississippian traditions.
"Early Oneota looks like a mix of the two," Stoltman said.
Stoltman agrees.
"When you look at dates, you have to pick the median.Where do most of the dates fall?"he said.

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